A girl in the hand is worth two under the table

I can depend on my mother’s charity
and the stupidity of mankind…
Relying on the tides to rise and recede
and the birds to chirp
and the squirrels to nibble noisily on things
sitting in the branches of some tree
is infrequently rewarded with the opposite.

Even counting on the improbable
to occur
is safest, sometimes;
and most things tried are true;
and most lying words do
nothing but strike at reality’s flint
in futility and are doused by their own
unshakable impossibility.

Traffic will always mean dominoes of flaring taillights,
muttered curses and blaring horns
like kites of weathered strings and polymers
that carry the fumes and the din
and any doubts as to Man’s lot
up into the maw of the sky,
to float alongside God’s pipesmoke
and be returned to the earth
by great silver birds
that can be expected to land
but never on time.

These are things I can predict;
causes and effects with no affection
for quantum physics.
The short straw will always poke its head out above the others for us.
First breaths shall have their last breaths,
and good things their ends,
and millions of tiny absurdities shall assert their common nature
and shall certainly nibble noisily on certainties
dangling from our ears like great silver talismans
that can be expected to land at our feet
but only when least expected to.

I know that footsteps
can only lead to a corpse or a cliff
if they are followed to their good ends,
and I can tell you that if a screaming comes across the sky
it’s unlikely we’ll hear the sound when its great silver tip parts our skulls
like the Red Sea.
These are things I can safely predict
because I have read about them in books,
because I have watched them,
because I have induced them into forming patterns,
and made them into sensible accounts, and dependable things,
kites on strings
and great silver wings
and the years of a tree
spelled out in rings
and plain on the face of a tenth-generation squirrel
nibbling noisily on some things he stole off the abacus
I use to count off the animals I’ve seen on the backs of clouds,
the probabilities,
things I expect that never arrive on time,
the good endings of movies, the cliffhangers,
all our short straws,
all the patterns picked out from amongst storms of uncertainties,
and all the things I hate but know to be true.

And I count here on these fingers what I’m sure of:
the sun,
the stars,
and you.

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About allisunknown

26 year-old student, tutor, and writer. Write for http://www.spectrumculture.com. Also nascent pedestrian advocate. Twitter handles: twitter.com/joeclinkenbeard twitter.com/PedInPDX
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